Thanks to the sidebar on Jody Hedlund's blog, I've started reading Plot & Structure, by James Scott Bell. In simple terms, Bell sums up plot by using the LOCK system:
L = Lead
"...a strong plot starts with an interesting Lead character. In the best plots, that Lead is compelling, someone we have to watch throughout the course of the novel."
O = Objective
"Objective is the driving force of fiction. It generates forward motion and keeps the Lead from just sitting around." Bell adds that "...objective can take either of two forms: to get something or to get away from something."
C = Confrontation
"Opposition from characters and outside forces brings your story fully to life." Bell quotes another writer who once said, "Get your protagonist up a tree. Throw rocks at him. Then get him down."
K = Knockout
In his book, Bell compares a strong ending to a knockout punch in a boxing match. His suggestion? "...take your Lead through the journey toward her objective, and then send the opposition to the mat."
I can relate to this easy-to-follow language. How about you? What techniques do you use when plotting fiction?